Officials with the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control are alerting the public after diagnosing two positive cases of canine influenza (H3N2).
According to officials, it’s the first time the disease has been seen in Arizona.
Officials say the disease can be “highly contagious.”
Mild: Dogs develop “soft moist cough” that can persist from 10 to 30 days.
Severe: Dogs can develop fevers which could lead to pneumonia. It can be fatal, but is seen in less than 10 percent of infections, officials said.
'Prevention is key'
Just like for humans, officials say, a vaccine can help prevent the virus.
According to officials, the H3N2 vaccine is “highly recommended” for dogs that frequently come into contact with other dogs, visit dog parks or kennels, or travel a lot.
Although there are no cases of the virus transferring to humans, humans can pass it to our dogs. Meaning if we come into contact with the virus, our four-legged friends could potently catch it.
Proper hygiene, including handwashing for anyone who comes into contact with an unfamiliar dog, is recommended to prevent the spread of the virus.
“This diagnosis is an important reminder that flu season is among us,” MCACC wrote in a news release. “Our canine friends rely on us to keep them safe from these and other viruses.”
MCACC said it’s taking a “pro-active” stance on the virus and reminds dog owners its important to keep canine companions up-to-date on vaccines and maintain regular vet visits.